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6 Early Fantasy Football Draft Sleepers (2024)

6 Early Fantasy Football Draft Sleepers (2024)

While the 2023 NFL regular season is over, the playoffs are underway. However, that’s no fun for fantasy players. Therefore, the best thing fantasy players can do is prepare for their dynasty league’s offseasons.

For those who don’t play in dynasty leagues, you should change that – they are so much fun. However, the next best thing to do is prepare for the 2024 fantasy season. While we have plenty of time to debate the top 12 and do rankings, let’s look at six early sleeper candidates for 2024 redraft leagues.

Early Fantasy Football Sleepers (2024)

Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN)

Cousins had an excellent year before suffering a torn Achilles in Week 8. He was the QB6 before getting hurt, averaging more fantasy points per game than Brock Purdy. The Vikings’ pass defense was awful early in the season, forcing the veteran to average 38.9 pass attempts per game. That resulted in Cousins having two or more passing touchdowns in all but one contest. Furthermore, Cousins ranked 12th in fantasy points per dropback (0.48) among quarterbacks with at least 300 dropbacks (per Fantasy Points Data).

Minnesota has an outstanding set of weapons with Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson. This has allowed the Vikings to throw the ball on over 62% of their offensive plays since Kevin O’Connell took over as the head coach, ranking top-four in pass attempts both years. Cousins is a free agent and might not return. Yet, he could be a late-round quarterback that surprises everyone if he is back in Minnesota.

Zamir White (RB – LV)

Everyone remembers during the 2022 Hall of Fame Game when the Raiders had Josh Jacobs play while every other starter sat. The fantasy football community panicked and predicted the star running back would get traded. Instead, Jacobs had a career year, earned the franchise tag, and returned to Las Vegas in 2023. However, his time with the team might now be coming to an end. The Raiders likely won’t sign him to a long-term deal in the offseason, especially given how well White played over the past month.

The second-year running back barely saw the field with Jacobs healthy. However, he was the RB8 during the fantasy playoffs, averaging 95 rushing yards and 14.5 half-point PPR fantasy points per game despite having only one rushing touchdown. Furthermore, according to Fantasy Points Data, White had a severely higher explosive run rate (6% vs. 2.1% for Jacobs). Unless the Raiders make a significant addition to the backfield, the second-year player could be the 2024 version of Rachaad White.

Ty Chandler (RB – MIN)

Minnesota will have multiple massive decisions to make this offseason, most notably at the quarterback position. However, another area that needs to be addressed is running back. Alexander Mattison was a flop in his first year as the starter, averaging only 3.9 yards per rushing attempt and totaling no rushing scores despite leading the team in rushing attempts (180). The running back likely either takes a significant pay cut or gets released, with 2024 being the final season of the two-year deal he signed last offseason.

Therefore, Chandler could be the starting running back heading into the NFL Draft. While the Vikings will almost certainly add someone to the backfield to pair with Chandler, the former North Carolina star ended the season playing well. He averaged 4.9 yards per rushing attempt and had a 5.7% explosive run rate over the final four games (per Fantasy Points Data) despite facing the No. 1 ranked Detroit Lions run defense twice in those contests. Chandler could have a third-year breakout unless Minnesota adds a big-name running back.

Rashid Shaheed (WR – NO)

According to Over the Cap, the Saints project to be over $70 million above the salary cap limit when the offseason starts. While the team will rework contracts to get under the salary cap limit, they will also have to say goodbye to several free agents, including Michael Thomas. However, Shaheed will be back as an exclusive rights-free agent. The explosive wide receiver flashed potential as a rookie before taking a step forward in 2024.

He was the WR22 from Week 16 through Week 18 with Thomas on the sidelines, averaging 10.8 half-point PPR fantasy points per game despite seeing the third-highest target share (16.2%) on the team. Shaheed led the Saints in yards per route run (2.88) in those three contests (per Fantasy Points Data). Furthermore, New Orleans’ lack of salary cap space likely means Shaheed will only have to fend off A.T. Perry for a starting role opposite Chris Olave this coming year.

Jahan Dotson (WR – WAS)

Unfortunately, Dotson was arguably one of the biggest fantasy busts in 2023. Despite having a late seventh-round ADP, the second-year wide receiver was a disaster. He was the WR56 for the year, averaging only 5.9 half-point PPR fantasy points per game, a lower average than Bo Melton and Darius Slayton. The former Penn State star struggled with Sam Howell under center. Dotson had a 13% target per route run rate and a 15.3% first-read target share this season (per Fantasy Points Data).

By comparison, he had a 17% target per route run rate and a 17.6% first-read target share in 2022. The Commanders should have a new quarterback under center this upcoming season after landing the No. 2 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Furthermore, Curtis Samuel is a free agent and unlikely to return after the team fired Ron Rivera. While many will refuse to draft him after he burned this year, Dotson could become a post-hype sleeper.

Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL)

Thankfully, the Falcons fired Arthur Smith on Black Monday after three consecutive 7-10 seasons. Short of hiring a potato to replace Smith, Atlanta will have an upgrade at head coach in 2024. That means Bijan Robinson, Drake London, and Pitts should have career years with whoever takes over on the sidelines. The former Gator was the TE5 in half-point PPR scoring as a rookie despite having only one receiving touchdown. Unfortunately, injuries and inconsistent quarterback play ruined his fantasy value the past two seasons.

The Falcons will make massive changes in the offseason, starting at quarterback. Hopefully, the new head coach can find a quarterback to put this win-now roster over the top. Additionally, Jonnu Smith likely won’t return after averaging only 4.5 fewer snaps per game than Pitts this year. Atlanta can release the veteran and save $6.5 million in salary cap space. After getting drafted as a top-six tight end in three consecutive seasons, fantasy players can likely land Pitts as a low-end TE1 in 2024.

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Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.

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